At the Women’s March on Washington

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Way back in October, when Hillary Clinton was something like 10 points ahead of Trump, I made reservations at a hotel in Washington, D.C., hoping to attend her inauguration as President.

Welp. Things didn’t go as planned. Only a few days later, Comey issued his ridiculous letter, and things went to hell for Hillary. After the horrifying election, I initially thought I’d sell my hotel rooms to some Trump supporters (and possibly profit off them), but within days, plans for a huge protest march began to take shape. That became the Women’s March on Washington.

At first I was nervous about going. Trump and his red hatted army were pretty scary to me. I didn’t really want to go anywhere they were going. But my wife, who went to the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation (that was the name back then) immediately signed on to the Women’s March. I’ve gone to protests before — remember the W. years? — and I definitely protested in San Francisco during the Proposition 8 fiasco, but I am not a regular protester. My advocacy work has largely been centered online and through my writing. And I’m scared of massive crowds, to be honest. I was anxious for the entire week leading up to the Women’s March, and I had tension headaches when I was there.

However. Since my wife was going, well, I went too. And I am really, really glad I did. Here are a lot of photos and some videos from my weekend in D.C.

Thursday night, Amy and I walked over to the White House knowing that it was President Obama’s last night there. D.C. was already beginning to fill with protesters, including this one in a polar bear costume.

I shot this video outside the White House. There was a group of Obama supporters, but there were also red-hatted Trump supporters. People yelled at each other. It was honestly disconcerting and a little scary — and this was just Thursday night!

The scene outside the White House a little while ago. At least the red hats make them obvious? #inauguration #whitehouse

A video posted by Malinda Lo (@malindalo) on Jan 19, 2017 at 2:15pm PST

That night we went to dinner at Logan Tavern. We were seated next to a group who had come for the Trump inauguration, but our check at the end of dinner had this amazing quote on it. It showed me that we have friends everywhere.

Friday morning there were a lot of protesters in the streets attempting to block security checkpoints, including this group of LGBTQ protesters who danced while they protested.

Queers dancing at the apocalypse aka #inauguration2017 Note backdrop

A video posted by Malinda Lo (@malindalo) on Jan 20, 2017 at 6:27am PST

We caught sight of these protesters from our hotel on Friday. I thought they looked, frankly, pretty scary.

On Friday we also went to a Teach-in on feminism at Politics & Prose bookstore, where feminists including Rebecca Traister spoke. It was packed wall to wall! It was definitely a sign of what was coming at the Women’s March.

Here I am with Amy and our sign in front of the Voice of America building. I was too stressed out to handmake a sign so I ordered one from Vistaprint! I think it turned out really well.
Here I am with Amy and our sign in front of the Voice of America building. I was too stressed out to handmake a sign so I ordered one from Vistaprint! I think it turned out really well.
I love that someone printed this picture of Michelle Obama.
I love that someone printed this picture of Michelle Obama.
Sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits!
Sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits!
This made me smile: It's Nacho Uterus
This made me smile: It's Nacho Uterus
We spent a big chunk of the time waiting for the march to start at this intersection.
We spent a big chunk of the time waiting for the march to start at this intersection.

Although the vast majority of the march experience was positive, there were some downsides for me. I’ve never been in a crowd this massive, and while 99% of the people there were friendly and supportive — and willingly moved out of the way if we tried to get through the crowd — a few were not. At one point we were pressed in so closely I started to panic. This was late into the waiting game; the march was already an hour late in starting, and everyone around me was tired and probably a bit tense. For a brief time, it felt like things could go really, really wrong. I think that the march organizers were simply unprepared for the overwhelming turnout. There just wasn’t room for all of us in those closely packed streets. Thankfully, we all got through it, and eventually we were allowed to start the march.

I think that as we push ourselves to resist in this administration, it’s important to consider what kind of resistance we can do. It’s good to push yourself — and I want to push myself — but I also want to acknowledge to myself that I do have general anxiety disorder, and some things are a lot harder for me to do than others. I can write. I can speak up in person and online. And I’m thinking about what I’m best suited to do to resist.

Anyway:

It was so crowded that women were climbing the trees to see.
It was so crowded that women were climbing the trees to see.
Here's the view of the Capitol as we crossed the mall toward Pennsylvania Avenue.
Here's the view of the Capitol as we crossed the mall toward Pennsylvania Avenue.
Words matter.
Words matter.

Earlier today in front of the Trump international hotel #womensmarch "I pay taxes why don't you?"

A video posted by Malinda Lo (@malindalo) on Jan 21, 2017 at 6:11pm PST

This woman was dressed as a middle finger salute!
This woman was dressed as a middle finger salute!
Here's the massive march spilling across an intersection at Pennsylvania Avenue near the entrance to the White House.
Here's the massive march spilling across an intersection at Pennsylvania Avenue near the entrance to the White House.
After the march, people were leaving their signs all over the city, including at Thomas Circle near our hotel.
After the march, people were leaving their signs all over the city, including at Thomas Circle near our hotel.
Two choices: Fear or Love!
Two choices: Fear or Love!
Fuck the Cistem
Fuck the Cistem
There were a lot of Star Wars signs!
There were a lot of Star Wars signs!
World Citizen
World Citizen
Manbaby needs a spanking!
Manbaby needs a spanking!
I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies
I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies

And last but not least:

DELETE YOUR PRESIDENCY

I’ll leave you with two great essays about the Women’s March on Washington: Rebecca Traiser’s New York Magazine article “The Complicated, Controversial, Historic, Inspiring Women’s March” and Jia Tolentino’s New Yorker piece “The Radical Possibility of the Women’s March.”

The Women’s March is over, but the fight for equality and justice continues.